Cars

Published on August 22nd, 2016 | by Subhash Nair

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Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Review: A Taste of American Muscle

The Ford Mustang has captured the public’s imagination ever since it was introduced in the mid-1960s. Though there were countless others that were genuinely better representations of the all-American Muscle car, the Mustang came to represent that entire genre on a global stage. What started off as an affordable, lightweight sports car grew to become a modern day icon.

Ford has never stopped making Mustangs – but in many ways they never really needed to push themselves beyond the American market. Yet by the 5th generation, global demand for a taste of what the Yanks were so crazy about could no longer be ignored. And so the good folks in Michigan got to work on this: the sixth, and quite possibly best ever, Mustang.

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The sixth-generation Mustang is the first of its kind – made to match the expectations set in any market around the world. Making a global car may sound a little like marketing fluff, but there are serious considerations to take into account, especially for a car as American as the ‘Stang. It had to feel familiar to folks in the homeland while still meeting expectations and regulations set abroad. This meant getting to work on a base-level 4-cylinder Ecoboost motor, tweaking the V8 to make it less thirsty, and making it a competitive in the markets it would be introduced in.

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More importantly, it had to thread the line between being an affordable sportscar back in the US while being a competitively priced performance vehicle abroad. We have to say, they’ve done well in this regard.

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The Mustang manages to be just as practical as any other Ford yet special in the way many supercars feel. In Malaysia, two versions are sold – the Ecoboost Premium and the GT Premium.

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For our review, we tested the top-of-the-line GT Premium, which comes with polished exhaust tips, 19” Premium painted wheels, ‘GT’ and ‘5.0’ badging as well as an Electronic Line-Lock for track use. Stepping into the Mustang, it was easy to see that Ford really paid attention not just to design but material choices too.

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Needless to say, the Mustang meets the same high build-quality standards they’ve been impressing us for the better part of the decade. Any preconceived notion that American cars featured poorly built interiors can be put aside. It’s practically German in here, with absolutely no give in the fittings and great use of metal and high-quality plastic trim pieces throughout.

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In fact, the Mustang’s interior is unlike Ford. Where the rest of the lineup seems to share design elements like air vents and buttons, just about everything here feels bespoke.

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The cabin has aircraft written all over it too. On the speedometer, the word ‘GROUNDSPEED’ is unironically written in the centre of the gauge. The toggle-controls for the hazards, drive modes and traction control follow this same design language, adding an undeniably cool touch to the interior.

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Speaking of Drive Modes, the Mustang GT Premium we tested had 4 to choose from, Normal, Sport+, Track and Wet. These would change the throttle and engine response, but not the stiffness of the dampers.

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The 5-litre ‘Coyote’ V8 is one of a kind. Engineered to be as powerful as other American V8s that displace over 6-litres, this motor isn’t just any old low-tech, high-displacement unit. Ford fitted their Twin-Independent Variable Cam Timing system, allowing for greater control over intake and exhaust timing. This attention to detail allowed the company to bring emissions and fuel consumption down considerably, allowing them to finally sell the Mustang in Europe and many other parts of the world.

 

Despite this practical thought process, the engine still makes a glorious noise and is every bit as powerful as its stats suggest. 416PS and 530Nm of torque are delivered closer further up in the redline. Understandably, Ford Malaysia wouldn’t have been able to move many Mustangs with a manual transmission, but the 6-speed automatic is still plenty competent, and the paddle shifters are definitely welcome.

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Even with the slushbox, the Mustang still manages a 0-100km/h sprint in 4.8 seconds, making it a good value proposition for supercar shoppers. And why not? It’s definitely larger and more practical than many performance offerings, with a serviceable boot and rear seats that are there when needed (though honestly, only the smallest 4 adults we know would make this 2+2 configuration work fully).

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This new Mustang even comes with independent rear suspension for the first time in the nameplate’s history. Granted, it’s still a huge car with electric power steering leaning towards comfort, but for the most part the Mustang manages to be confidence-inspiring through every corner. It’s not supercar sharp, but that’s a good thing. You could drive this car in KL traffic or blast down the highway, and either way you’re going to be content and have all eyes on you.

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RM600,000 is a pretty steep asking price, but when you consider how difficult it is to put the Mustang up against anything else available in Malaysia the logic becomes a little clearer. Ford Malaysia and Sime Darby Auto Connexion claim most of their buyers tend to forgo the 2.3-litre Ecoboost in favour of the full-fledged 5-litre GT model and frankly, we’re not surprised. V8s are a rare thing, and they’re only going to get harder to find as the years go by. That enough is reason to get the Mustang – it’s a classic but it’s also a classic in the making. We have no doubt it’ll age well and be easy enough to maintain in the coming years. Plus, just look at it, how do you say no that something like that.

 

Ford Mustang GT Specifications
Engine: V8 ‘Coyote’, DOHC, 32-Valve Ti-VCT

Capacity: 4951 cc

Power: 416 PS @ 6,500 rpm

Torque: 530 Nm @ 4,250 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed SelectShift Automatic

0-100km/h: 4.8 seconds

Top speed: 250 km/h

Price: RM598,888


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